In India, Goa attracts global developers

The Indian state of Goa has made some strong moves to boost its hotel scene in recent months. Last week, we noted that the state is poised to get four new resorts following the Goa Investment Promotion Board clearing proposals for future development. These projects will likely include three five-star hotels that—combined with other developments—could see a total investment of about Rs. 1,882 crore.

Just a month earlier, the Board approved 11 proposed projects, including five-star hotels, with an investment of just under Rs. 1,000-crore. A senior IPB official told NDTV that the Board approved a proposal by M/s Ozone Leisure and Resort Private Limited for construction of a five-star property in the state.

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Signings and Deals
Beyond board approvals, large-scale hospitality companies are opening, buying and selling properties throughout the state. In September, hospitality group Hotel Leelaventure sold one of its prime properties, Hotel Leela Goa, to London-based businessman Raj Bagri for around Rs725 crore in what what is being called one of the biggest single property deals in the Indian hospitality sector. As part of a debt restructuring plan, Hotel Leelaventure entered into a pact with MetTube to sell the property. Under the deal, the property would be purchased by Ceres Hotels Private Ltd., a wholly owned Indian subsidiary of MetTube. Hotel Leelaventure will continue to manage and operate the hotel, which will retain the Leela name. 

In early February, ITC Hotels acquired the 250-room Park Hyatt, Goa. The reserve price for the property was set at Rs 542.57 crore. 

Just a few weeks ago, Hyatt opened a new hotel, the 147-room Hyatt Place at Candolim, in the beach belt of North Goa. The Hyatt Place, Candolim is the third Hyatt in Goa following Park Hyatt in South Goa and Grand Hyatt, Bambolim. This hotel is the fourth Hyatt Place in India after three others in Hampi, Pune and Gurgaon. 

Looking ahead, Keys Hotels is looking to add 60-70 new hotels in its budget category over the coming fiscal year to take advantage of the "exponential" growth in the segment. The company is looking to go "asset-light" in the foreseeable future, according to the Economic Times, with plans to keep assets under its own management to a bare minimum. In addition to just seven hotels under its own management, the company is planning to open five more properties in the near future, including one in Goa.  

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, meanwhile, is also planning to open five new properties in India this year, including a W Retreat & Spa in Goa, and an Aloft in Goa. Starwood currently operates 54 properties in South Asia with another 34 under development.

Not everyone is pleased with these developments, however, especially those who want more local investment. A recent opinion piece for New Delhi Television noted that almost every five-star hotel on the beach has been put up by operators and chains based in other states and countries, and lamented the government's willingness to let outside developers determine the region's future. One hotel resort proposed by a Delhi company on a south Goan beach, the piece claimed, has been "unable to lay a brick on its properties" because the local villagers continue to fight the development.

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